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And protecting and taking care of your core, back and abdominal muscles is crucial to staying healthy as an athlete and a person in general.
In the United States, around 1 in 10 adults suffer from severe lower back pain, and nearly 80% of adults will experience back pain at some point during their lifetime.
And that number only increases with age.
Because of those startling numbers, it's essential to do everything possible to protect your core and lower back while striving to be the best, healthiest athlete that you can be.
One of the greatest ways to maintain a healthy core is to maintain stability throughout your workouts.
An unstable core leads to increased chances of injury to muscles and discs.
Physical Therapist Scott Weiss, C.S.C.S., D.P.T.says, “Stability is key to the health of the lumbar spine, as it protects discs, supports muscles and joints, and limits injury,”
And weightlifting belts can help do just that: stabilize your core.
Physical therapist Joe Gambino, C.S.C.S., D.P.T. says, "Weightlifting belts can increase intra-abdominal pressure to help stabilize your spine when lifting heavy loads"
Mentally, a weightlifting belt is the little voice in your head:
"Engage your core."
"Engage your core."
"Engage your core."
It's the reminder you need during any lift where you have a tendency to release the tension and pressure in your core out of exhaustion and leave yourself susceptible to injury.
When to wear a weightlifting belt varies on three main variables:
We'll talk about these 3 different considerations in detail in this section.
That level of strain and pressure is the right time to support your core and lower back with a belt.
A good coach will be able to recommend when the right time to use a belt is for you based on the workout, lift, weight, and more.
We recommend learning the core lifts without a weightlifting belt so that you learn how to engage your core first.
No belt can replace engaging your core. They can only support and stabilize proper form.
- Self-locking clamp (our WODClamp)
- Velcro only
We discuss the differences in these locking mechanisms in the following section. That said, no matter which locking mechanism you choose, it's essential to ensure that your belt is secured appropriately to avoid popping off and endangering yourself in the middle of a heavy lift.
When positioning your belt, you want to make sure it is sitting above your hips, centered around your naval.
One of the most common mistakes is wearing a weightlifting belt too low around the waist like a regular belt. Wearing a belt this way does not engage the core abdominal muscles that provide necessary core support for heavy lifts.
Lastly, you want to make sure the belt is tight enough to engage your core and brace against so that it provides that support you need.
In general, the tighter the belt, the better. The more tension in the belt, the more support it will be providing.
It's okay if the belt is so tight that it's slightly uncomfortable. You don't need to leave it like this for long, as long as it's tightened down securely while you're in the middl
In this section, we'll look at what styles and materials exist for weightlifting belts and why we've chosen to construct ours the way that we have.
Nylon belts are a great option for lifters at any level. Designed to hug and and mold to your body, they provide great support while also providing a flexible fit. Nylon belts allow for a more tailored fit, and they are easy to adjust throughout your workout, especially if you're transitioning between movements.
Leather belts are built for longevity and have a thick, rigid feel. There is a "break in" period for leather belts so that they can adequately wrap around your body. Leather belts are not as adjustable as nylon belts, but they are great for compounds lifts such as deadlifts and back squats.
The WODClamp, like the one on 2POOD belts, secures the belt before ever engaging the velcro. It allows for a tight fit while also relieving some tension from the velcro to improve its longevity. The WODClamp also allows for the belt to be loosened without fulling taking the belt off, making it ideal for transitioning between movements during a workout.
Lever belts have a fixed position that does not change unless you unscrew the lever to a new position on the belt. They are not easily adjustable and are not ideal for sharing. Lever belts have a very secure fit that is designed to give a quick release once a lift is completed. Some lever belts are the belts approved by the USAPL association and the IWPF
These belts are similar to a clothing belt where you adjust tightness with a buckle. Usually seen on leather belts, prong belts are great for a heavy duty belt, but are not as custom of a fit for the lifter. Prong belts are, for some, a little harder to adjust sizing. Some prong belts are approved by the USAPL association and the IWPF
2POOD Belts are nylon material with a self-locking WODClamp. This design is a ideal for providing flexibility, security and support to the belt. The WODClamp assists the nylon by reducing tension on the belt and allowing for a tight, easily adjustable feel.
Check out the different varieties of belts that we carry below!
The straight belt is 4" width belt all the way around the belt. Our 4" straight belt is the Official belt of USA Weightlifting and provides great support and security with the the 2POOD WODClamp. You can check out all of our Straight Belts here.
The 3" Petite Belt provides the same great support as the 4" straight belt, but is designed for athletes with shorter torsos who find that the 4" belt digs into their ribs and causes discomfort.
The Petite Belt is 3" all the way around the belt. You can find more 3" petite belts here.
The Metcon Belt is a 6" weightlifting belt that is design that supports higher up the back. Some athletes who are lifting heavier and do not have any gymnastics or cardio to switch between will prefer the Metcon belts.
You can find more metcon belts here.
While we can't speak to sizing yourself for weightlifting belts of all brands, we will talk about how to size yourself correctly for a 2POOD belt.
Once you have received your belt we have some tips to let you know if yours is a good fit!
1. Make sure to position your belt where the two ends are in the middle of your waist. Once there grab the velcro end in your left hand and the main part of your belt in the right hand, take a deep breath, and pull your hands towards each other to tighten. Make sure the belt is ABOVE your hips so it tightens properly.
2. Once tightened your belt should be snug but not painful. The "ideal gap" for your belt is about a half inch to two and half inch gap between the ends of your belt. Any overlap means the belt is too large and too much of a gap means the belt is too small.
If you need to exchange your belt for a different size you can the return and exchange information here.
Now that you are fully knowledgable on all things weightlifting belt its time for you to get one of your own!
Check out our most popular belts below!